The Benefits of Smart Charging

Published on 06/01/2022

With the advent of widespread electric vehicles and transport about to happen globally, there is no doubt it will bring about significant positive change for both society and our environment.

When the logistics industry begins replacing a large percentage of transport fleets with electric vehicles, this is going to take its toll on established electricity supplies. When countries laid out the infrastructure designed to distribute power to residential, commercial, and industrial sectors, they did not know to take EVs into their calculations.

Can current grid systems handle the demand EVs will put on them?

We all know that microwaving a meal between 5pm and 8pm in the evening takes longer because the demand for electricity is higher during those times. Does this mean the grid is already stretched too thin?

Add to that the need to be charging EVs and the sudden surge in power demands, and it is safe to say that electricity generation and networks established to transport that electricity to where it is needed are important investments in our future. If supply cannot meet the future demands of electric transport, it could lead to energy price increases at regular charging points.

If EV owners encounter such issues as queues at charging points, increased prices, and overworked network operators, it could cause problems.

But what is the solution?

Welcome to Smart Charging

The solution to avoiding future energy problems is smart charging.

Smart charging is a method using intelligent management of EV charging, so that the process doesn’t destabilize or overload the grid. It does this by opening data connection pathways which enables the vehicle, utility provider, and charging operator to communicate with one another. This process effectively optimizes charging.

Smart charging is going to be a vital process when the phasing out of petroleum-based vehicles and the introduction of EVs begins in earnest.

By balancing the grid, smart charging will benefit the EV owner and operator and the energy grid. As the new era of clean transport enters New Zealand, this is how smart charging will benefit the key stakeholders.

Smart Charging Key Features

Smart charging is designed to help the grid by using three central features:

  • Power sharing (load balancing)
  • Power boosting (peak shaving)
  • Dynamic power sharing

When integrated, these features greatly improve the energy efficiency of the EV charging process. It makes sure not too much pressure is put on local grids by communicating between all the systems.

What is Power Sharing?

The power sharing feature is geared towards charging points where there is more than one EV being charged at one time. When more than one vehicle charges at the same time, the power sharing feature notes this and balances the available electricity between all the charging cars.

This means that all cars won’t be draining the same amount of power but sharing the available power evenly between all of them.

What is Power Boost?

Power boosting is when power consumption is automatically and dynamically balanced between the charger point and the other devices that need powering in your house. When it gauges that you are close to maximum capacity, the power boosting feature automatically reduces how much electricity is consumed by your charging vehicle.

Power boost features can even pause an EVs charging sessions until it reads that there is adequate power available again. Then it automatically completes the charge.

What is Dynamic Power Sharing?

This smart charging feature combines both power sharing and power boosting capabilities. Dynamic power sharing measures the demands on the EV charging site continuously and allows maximum energy capacity when it monitors the demand for power is low and lessens energy capacity when the demand for power is high.

This feature enables the even distribution of energy across all charging stations, each according to the site’s selected tariff and local energy capacities. Dynamic power sharing means that charging can be halted, and power consumption lowered until the energy demands are lower.

The dynamic power sharing feature of smart charging means that charging operators will be able to satisfy power demand on site without having to resort to increasing the installations power capabilities overall.

When the maximum power capacity is never exceeded, it means no excessive demands are placed on chargers, leading to blackouts.

Who benefits the most from smart charging?

The benefits of smart charging for the EV stakeholders in the future means that network operators will be able to optimize and stabilize all operations to balance the grid.

What most people think of when they imagine EV charging, is a simple plug-in and charge action. This method would take large chunks of power off the grid at inopportune times. Smart charging will allow network operators to optimize the energy flow when it comes to charging EVs.

They will be able to regulate the power intake according to the peak highs and lows of energy demand, meaning they will be able to provide better customer service all round.

The way that smart chargers communicate means that the EVs plugged into the charging station, the utility provider, and the charging points owners will interact via data connection, similar to the cloud. These connections can manage and measure power usage and levels in real-time, remotely.

Smart charging enables grid operators to develop and understand better dynamic connections and energy systems to withstand future demands in supply and possible surge scheduling. This will ensure that energy provision will be programmed to adapt to future power shortage hot spots. The system will also be able to anticipate when power demands will spike.

This will save the New Zealand government from having to spend billions of dollars on reinforcing grids in preparation for more EVs on the road and subsequent charging demands. By leveraging current energy demands with smart charging, the system will benefit from grid adaptations that make the process more cost-effective, better prepared, and convenient.

What can smart charging offer businesses?

  • Better control
  • More convenience
  • Cost effective savings

Charging points at businesses will have their charging services managed when the use of EVs increases over the next three years. Smart charging will also implement other benefits and improvements.

  1. Smart charging will enable businesses to set limits on their charging points to avoid excessive energy consumption. This will be linked to the energy capacity allocated to the business premises or building.
  2. It will be possible to link smart charging points to an online platform or app, which will allow businesses to manage and monitor EV charging in real-time and remotely.
  3. If businesses wanted to open their on-site charging point for public use, they can use smart charging data to select a beneficial pricing structure, best availability, and when to offer charging facilities to customers outside of the business.
  4. By installing charging stations at work and businesses, it will bring economic value to the business, and establish long-term value to the area and the building.

Sustainability and greener, cheaper charging stations for EV owners

When you charge your car using a smart charger, it adjusts to the available energy limits according to what the operator established.

A smart charging limit might be selected by the residence’s power capacity, or a budget predetermined by the electric vehicle’s owner. This means the EV will never be able to go over the limit. It also ensures the vehicle is charged safely and with stability, because the system is automatically checked before charging can commence.

All charging is monitored for constant activity, and any unusual activity is flagged by the energy provider. When smart charging systems are in place, it means that charging electric vehicles is far cleaner and cheaper for homeowners concerned about their carbon footprint. It also means EV drivers can receive preferential electricity rates in exchange for charging at low power use times, which in turn lowers demand on the grid.

Another benefit of demand-response systems like smart charging is that it allows the EV to store energy as surplus that it has acquired during low demand times of the day.

Prepare for the sustainability and convenience smart chargers are offering customers now.